Project Hope

Project HOPE to stop the School to Prison Pipeline (Healing Over Prison Experience)

Project Hope is a targeted approach which involves a school leader spending half their day at the correctional facility (JDC) and part of their time at the feeder schools to the JDC to mentor and support elementary students and staff.   Interviews and targeted mentoring and collaboration with agencies occurs to provide resources for students ensuring we prevent students from entering the Juvenile Detention Center and we reduce recidivism for those departing the detention center.   Early intervention and promotion of district wide equity councils and programs occurs as part of Project Hope. 

The Co-chairs of these Equity Council, Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Anderson and Dr. New,  started an initiative in 2017 to stop  and dismantle the school to prison pipeline. The district recognizes that lack of success, mentors and the overall loss of hope often leads to crime and feeds the school to prison pipeline rather than feeding the school to college pipeline. Therefore, wrap around services have been implemented that target address the school to prison pipeline and a significant reduction in offenders in the Juvenile Detention Center occurred in 2018-2020.  Following the pandemic that isolated some families and impacted the mental health of the community, an increase in juvenile offenders has been viewed since 2021 when students returned full time to school. The initiative started in 2017 that layered support systems into the schools and the Juvenile Detention Center evolved to a systemic process called Project HOPE (Healing Over Prison Experiences)  which is aimed at bridging the connection and mentorship between schools and educators at the JDC.  After the superintendent's listening tour, increased  in-school alternatives and therapeutic spaces were implemented.  

Stopping the School School to Prison Pipeline Initiatives

·  2017 Avondale West  Alternative School Opened

·  2017 JAG Academy for elementary supports was opened

Avondale West provided students a place to attend school and gain mental health services  from social workers and partner agencies.   It also allowed incarcerated youth a school to attend to gain social and emotional support before returning to their comprehensive school which has helped ensure greater success in the comprehensive school setting. The alternative school model at  Avondale West, opened to provide in-school discipline systems for secondary students who were not able to successfully attend their comprehensive school, a virtual school model was implemented within Avondale West to allow students to access classes virtually if online education was a more appropriate platform to meet individual needs.   

·  2017 TPS expanded the use of researched based social emotional support systems.  

Restorative justice,  peace initiative resources, and  mental health support systems  were increased by adding more counselors and increasing the implementation of mental health teams across the district working with partner agencies.  Counseling rations are below the national average allowing for more counselors at every school, therapeutic animals and other therapeutic services were implemented. 

·  2018 TPS expanded the use of researched based social emotional support systems in partnership with KU implementing screeners and ACE survey.  

·  2019 TPS created a school and police officer partnership.The partnership is intended to support students in schools, build relationships and to provide positive experiences with law enforcement.

The district and law enforcement officials created an MOU to remove non-violent offenses as criminal charges from youth and police were engaged as school based instructors in career based classrooms for early relationship building. .

Resources on Ways to Stop the School To Prison Pipeline

https://all4ed.org/januarys-brown-vs-board-challenge-dismantling-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

 

https://www.aclu.org/issues/juvenile-justice/school-prison-pipeline/school-prison-pipeline-infographic

 

 

 

Equity Council visits JDC

Dr. Anderson

Dr. Grimes

Equity Council

Equity Council all

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